The main focus for us this coming Friday is Uzbekistan, as Matchroom put on their second Uzbek card, and it's an interesting one with a great main event and several other bouts worthy of attention.
The main event is a world title eliminator at 154lbs as unbeaten, and highly touted, Uzebekistani fighter Israil Madrimov (7-0, 5) takes a huge step up in class and takes on the skilled and experienced French fighter Michel Soro (35-2-1, 24). Madrimov has been put on the fact track since turning professional in 2018 and despite some wobbles recently, notably in a tough one against Eric Walker last year, he has looked like a very special fighter. Albeit one that looks bored at times and looks like he is trying to entertain himself against lesser opponents. Soro on the other hand is a perennial contender who has one of the best resumes of any active fighter to have never won a legitimate world title. Aged 34 Soro won't get many, if any, more chances if he loses here and we suspect to see him put it all on the line here in what could be a really sensational 12 rounder. Sadly we're not sure either man would have the tools to dethrone WBA champion Jermell Charlo, but as a stand alone bout, this one is a very, very interesting one and the winner would, rightfully, deserve a shot at the champion.
In one of the main supporting bouts we'll see Olympic silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (11-0, 9) take on the tricky and awkward Cristian Rafael Coria (29-8-2, 13), in what should be a much tougher bout than it looks on paper. Giyasov, dubbed the "Wonder Boy", is a talented fighter but one who has shown some cracks during his professional career, and is certainly a work in progress. Saying that however he's talented, heavy handed, accurate and has the tools to go all the way to the top, in the future. We still feel he needs some seasoning, but he certainly has what's needed to be a champion. Coria on the other hand is a 39 year old journeyman who constantly looks for the upset, having given Hiroki Okada hell in 2018 and beaten Joel Diaz Jr in 2019. He was stopped last time out, by the awkward Alberto Puello, but he's tough and will be looking to make Giyasov pay for his numerous errors.
Another very notably fight in this card will be the return of Bektemir Melikuziev (7-1, 6), who looks to bounce back from his upset loss to Gabe Rosado. Interesting Melikuziev isn't being matched mega softly here, and instead of taking on a patsy after such a brutal KO loss he's up against the capable Sergei Ekimov (18-3, 9), who has never been stopped and pushed recent world title challenger Umar Salamov close in his most recent bout. This shouldn't be a problem for Melikuziev, but we suspect he will have to go rounds and this should serve him well given the loss to Rosado.
There also a number of other touted hopefuls on this card, such as 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Hasanboy Dusmatov (3-0, 3), who takes on tough Mexican journeyman Jose Rivas (18-12-4, 10). On paper this is a mismatch, but Rivas has only been stopped twice with the most recent of those coming to Jose Argumedo more than 6 years ago. He should extend Dusmatov a few rounds.
Likewise we expect to see Elnur Abduraimov (7-0, 6) have to work for a win over Filipino Jhon Gemino (22-12-1, 12), whilst former amateur standouts Ikboljon Kholdarov (1-0, 1) and Dilshodbek Ruzmetov (0-0) should both be taking home very easy wins as they they begin their professional journey's, and they are two men who have the potential to go very far, very fast.
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
In Canada we'll see the talented Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-1-0-2, 14) look to bounce back from his thrilling loss to Subriel Matias, back in May. The exciting Canadian based Kazakh showed lots to like there against one of the true dangermen at 140lbs, and will be given a chance to get a confidence building win here as he takes on limited Mexican Juan Jose Martinez (28-10, 20). It's fair to say that Jukembayev isn't world class, but he's certainly someone who can mix with the top 10 type of fighters and hopefully after this bout we see him mixing at a good level again in the new year.
Vysotsky Sports Palace, Samara, Russia
Over in Russia we'll see a couple of low level bouts with Central Asian fighters in action, playing the B-sides.
On such bout will see 25 year old Russian hopeful Rokhman Akhmetkhanov (2-0, 2) look to continue his impressive start to live as a professional boxer as he takes on Alexandr Zhuravskiy (13-8-1, 11), of Kazakhstan. Akhmetkhanov made his debut in March, has just 3 rounds to his name, but already looks like a genuine handful at Middleweight or Super Middleweight, and has two solid wins to his name. At his best Zhuravskiy was a tough, durable, reliable test for fighters, though he is now looking a bit shot and past his best. We expect Akhmetkhanov to win, but if he scores another quick win here it's going to be very, very hard to get him rounds over the next year or two.
A similar match up to the one above will see Chingiz Natyrov (2-0, 2), another hard hitting Russian hopeful, take on veteran Rauf Aghayev (33-12, 15), from Afghanistan. The 29 year old Natyrov looked tremendous last year, when he picked up two wins in the space of a few weeks including a stoppage of Oleksandr Hryshchuk, but with more than a year out of the ring he'll be hoping to get some rounds in here and move on to bigger things in 2022. The 38 year old Aghayev has amazingly fought 8 times this year! Though has sadly been stopped in 3 of those, and would be shocked if he avoided another stoppage loss here against someone as good as Natyrov.
A third bout of interest to us on this card will see Russian based Kazakh Ilya Ochkin (6-2, 2) look to bounce back from his 2020 blow out loss to Magomed Kurbanov, as he takes on Azeri fighter Elvin Akhundzada (4-8, 2). Coming in to this Akhundzada has been stopped very early in his last 3, and has lost 8 in a row. We do not expect him to put up much of an effort, but it'll be good to see Ochkin back in the ring after a length break from action, and after such a loss last time out.
The month of April is already under way and this Saturday we are getting a treat with a stacked day of action, featuring prospects, debutants, world title contenders and, best of all, a huge world title bout in Uzbekistan! In fact we are getting the greatest professional boxing event in Uzbekistan's history!
Humo Arena, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
We'll start with the Uzbek card, which is really something special and something super stacked! In fact it's up there with the most notable cards of the year so far.
The main event will see unified Super Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6) defending his WBA "super" and IBF Super Bantamweight titles against Japanese challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17), in a mandatory defense. Akhmadaliev won the titles last year, when he beat Danny Roman, and has had to wait over a year to return to the ring as a champion. He will be the strong favourite, and the clear fan favourite for what is a massive home coming fight. Iwasa on the other hand is looking to reach the pinnacle of the sport for a second time, having previously held the IBF title. The hard hitting Japanese fighter can blow very hot and cold, but looked fantastic last time out, dominating Marlon Tapales. Sadly that was in December 2019. Despite the lengthy lay offs for both men this is a mouth watering bout and it deserves a lot of attention. Potentially the best bout of the entire month! Our in depth preview of this match up can be read here Akhmadlaiev and Iwasa clash at last!
In one of the main supporting bouts we'll see the highly regarded Israil Madrimov (6-0, 5) take on the hard hitting Emmany Kalombo (14-0, 14), in a mouth watering match up. Madrimov has looked like a future world champion in the making since his 2018 debut, though looked underwhelming last time out, against the tough and awkward Eric Walker. He'll be wanting to shine here and make a statement in his first bout since that one. Congolese born South African based Kalombo on the hand will be going in to this bout knowing that he has a huge chance to announce himself to the world. It's a huge opportunity for Kalomobo, but he will be the big under-dog. Given unbeaten records and the combined 95% KO ratio we don't expect this one to go the distance. Instead we expect a short but explosive contender. Don't blink.
Another established Uzbek on this card is Shakhram Giyasov (10-0, 8), who takes on experienced Mexican fighter Patricio Lopez Moreno (28-4, 20). On paper this looks like it should be a straight forward win for Giyasov, a 2016 Olympic silver medal winner, but Moreno is a credible competitor and we suspect he'll give Giyasov a number of questions to answer here. Giyasov should have the tools to pick up a win, but we don't think he'll have an easy time.
One man who will be looking to establish himself in the professional ranks on this show is 2016Olympic gold medal winner Hasanboy Dusmatov (2-0, 2), who has failed to set the world alight since turning professional, but clearly has the talent to do so. He'll be up against Tanzania's Muhsin Kizota (11-2, 5) in what should be a real showcase for the unbeaten Uzbek. Kizota is tough, durable and will be hungry, but Dusmatov is a special talent, and he should be far, far too good for the Tanzanian fighter.
We won't go through the entire under-card, but it will feature touted Heavyweight prospect Bakhodir Jalolov (7-0, 7), the explosive Elnur Abduraimov (7-0, 6), the talented Sanjar Tursunov (2-0, 1) and debuting former amateur standouts Ikboljon Kholdarov (0-0) and Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (0-0). We suspect at least 2 of these 5 will go on to win world titles one day in the future, though all 5 have that level of potential.
Round 10 Boxing Club, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
A second show worthy of major attention comes from Dubai, where we get several bouts featuring Asian fighters. This card is headlined by WBO Super Featherweight champion Jamel Herring defending his title against Carl Frampton, but it's Asian action we're interested in.
The most notable of the Asian fighters on the show is 4-weight world champion Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23), who returns to the ring for the first time since beating Kazuto Ioka for the WBO Super Flyweight title at the very end of 2018! The talented Filipino really has had a couple of years to forget, sitting on the sidelines and watch the Super Flyweight division set on dire whilst injuries and issues with ALA Promotions cost him a potential super fight. In the opposite corner to "Ahas" will be Colombian veteran Pablo Carrillo (25-7-1, 16), who shouldn't be a real test for Nietes, but could ask some questions of the 38 year old Pinoy. If Nietes is as good as he was, he should win with ease, but we do wonder the the long lay off done to him.
In a really good looking match up the unbeaten Zhankosh Turarov (24-0, 17) will be up against Tyrone McKenna (21-2-1, 6). Sadly Turarov has wasted a lot of his potential, and despite still being unbeaten it seems that injuries, inactivity and a bit of an aimless career will never reach the heights that many predicted. Turarov is now 30 and he's at the point where he needs to be focused on the sport. McKenna is no world beater, but he's a very solid fighter all the same, and he the tenacity and hunger to be a a real threat to Turarov's unbeaten record. This could end up being a real gut check for "Da Kazakh Kid".
Another Kazakh on this card in an interesting looking match up is Tursynbay Kulakhmet (2-0, 1), who defends his WBC International 154lb title against unbeaten Venezuelan Heber Rondon (20-0, 13). The talented Kulakhmet impressed in the amateurs, looked like a sensation in his professional debut, then looked like a power but limited fighter in his second professional bout. We're expecting a much better performance here from him than we got last time. As for Rondon his record is unbeaten but under-whelming and he lacks wins of any real value. In fact this will be his toughest bout so far. Worrying for a 34 year old with a 20-0 record.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
Back over in Asian we get the latest show in the WP Boxing series of shows thanks to Workpoint and NKL. This card is certainly not a big one, but it's a notable one, with two bouts worthy of attention.
One of the two bouts is a flat out mismatch, as WBC ranked Bantamweight Nawaphon Por Chokchai (50-1-1, 40) takes part in a stay busy bout against Sophon Klachun (5-5-1, 1). The bout really is match up designed to keep Nawaphon active after a frustrating start to the year, which included planned world title fight falling through. We don't like matches like this, especially given this is the fourth successive "stay busy" bout for Suriyan, but it's much better than his sitting twiddling his thumbs doing nothing.
The other bout is a much better match up, as the unbeaten Apichet Petchmanee (8-0, 2) defends his WBC regional title against veteran Kaewfah Tor Buamas (29-7, 19). This bout "should" be an easy one for the talented Apichet, but it's hard to know with him. At times he has looked really, really good, but recently he has shown some real limitations and is lucky to still be unbeaten. Kaewfah was once a solid fighter but has now lost his last 3 and seems to be on the back end of his career. The veteran might have some tricks up his sleeve, but it would be a big surprise to see him pick up a victory here.
On a second show in Thailand we'll see an interesting looking match up between former world title contender Petch CP Freshmart (59-1, 44), aka Tasana Salapat, and fellow Thai Kongfah Nakornluang (33-3, 21), aka Chaiwat Buatkrathok. The bout will see Petch defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title, and looking to begin his slow climb towards another major fight. On paper this looks like a good bout. Interestingly this bout was meant to take place way back in December, on Christmas day in fact, but was cancelled at short notice and pushed back more than 3 months.
Balai Sarbini Convention Hall, Jakarta, Indonesia
We're set to get low quality action in Indonesia, though it's a show that may unearth some gems, with 3 unbeaten prospects on the card in scheduled 10 rounders. Their opponents are very limited but it's still interesting to see novices in such long bouts this early in their careers.
Before we look at those prospects we want to quickly tough on a match up between James Mokoginta (40-18-3, 26) and Isack Junior (26-15-3, 9) which is an interesting one. Mokoginta, a 51 fight veteran, is only 30 years old and seems to have been around for a life time, having debuted way back in 2004. Coming in to this he has all the momentum, riding a 10 fight unbeaten run. Junior on the other hand started his career 22-1-2 (8) and seemed to be on his way to some sort of success. Since then he has gone 4-14-1 and appears to pad records for fighters. We're expecting another defeat for Junior here.
As for the prospects one of those is Christo Gara (2-0, 1), who seems to have debuted in 2019 and put in two solid performances. He'll be up against the very limited Jack Madison (2-19) in a bout that should easily move Gara to 3-0. Another man who should pick up a very easy win is Doni Syafyendro (1-0) who takes on 46 year old Harri Hutagalung (1-16), who scored his only win way back in 2010, in his debut, and has had 16 losses in a row since then, with 12 of those losses coming by stoppage.
The third prospect, and the most interesting, is Indonesian Heavyweight hopeful Alam Syaputra (1-0, 1). Yes, you did read that, an Indonesian Heavyweight. In fact he's a natural Heavyweight and he's a genuine big lad, who looked impressive and imposing in his 2019 debut against Michael Wattimena. He'll be expecting his second professional win when he takes on David Koswara (12-16-2, 4), who, is a Heavyweight now, but began his career at Welterweight. This should be a bit of a farce, but it'll be interesting to see Syaputra back in action and he's someone who want to keep an eye on in the coming years.
Pyramide, Kazan, Russia
Over in Russia we're expecting to see Kazakh female fighter Firuza Sharipova (12-1, 6) take on Sofya Ochigava (4-0, 1), in the second bout between the two women. Sharipova, once one of the most noteworthy fighters in Kazakhstan, has seen the media cool down on her significantly over the last 24 months but a win here would see the press talking about her a lot, again. As for Ochigava a win here would see her repeat her 2016 win over Sharipova, in what was the professional debut for both women.
Also pencilled in for this card is 21 year old Uzbek hopeful Ravshan Makhamadjonov (11-0, 7). The talented Makhamadjonov really needs a step up in class this year, having now been a professional for around 4 years, but unfortunately he's had no opponent confirmed at the time or writing, suggesting he'll be up against a short notice opponent, and probably a limited one at that.
This coming Saturday is set to be a busy day for fans of Asian boxing with bouts involving Asian fighters taking place in 3 different continents. Although not of the bouts are massive we do have several very notable contests taking place.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
The two most notable fights both take place on a Matchroom Show in Tulsa, where we see two top Uzbek fighters each taking the next step forward in their career's.
The more promising of of the Uzbek's on this show is the sensational Israil Madrimov (5-0, 5), who faces off with American veteran Eric Walker (20-2, 9) in a WBA Light Middleweight world title eliminator. The talented Madrimov is stepping up slightly here, but the general feeling is he will be too good, too powerful, too heavy handed, too quick, and too accurate for Walker. The American has never been stopped, but at the age of 37 he is probably beyond his physical best and Madimov will be looking to make a statement. Saying that however Walker has scored good wins in recent years, including wins over John Jackson and John Thompson in 2018, as part of "The Contender". Madrimov should win without many problems, but he really can't afford to over-look Walker, who will look to ask him serious questions and could be his first real test as a professional.
The second Uzbek fighter on this card is Olympic Silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (9-0, 7), who will be up against Francisco Hernandez Rojo (22-3, 15). The unbeaten Giyasov, dubbed the "Wonder Boy", had some problems last year when he faced Emanuel Taylor, in a surpisingly competitive bout. Since then he has scored a blow out over Darley's Perez, but there are a lot of questions for him to still answer. Giyasov will be looking to shine again here, but Rojo is no push over and he gave Ryan Martin hell in 2017, losing a controversial split decision to the then unbeaten Martin. Sadly for those expecting a truly competitive match up it is worth noting that Rojo hasn't fought in 3 years and will almost certainly be rusty coming into this one.
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA
Staying in the US there is also a bout featuring unbeaten Kazakh Nikolay Shvab (4-0, 3) pencilled in to take place in Flordia. Sadly Shvab is being matched softly as he is scheduled to take on win-less Brazilian Marcello Williams (0-5), who has already lost 3 times this year. We understand match making is harder right now, but what is the point here? Shvab has already picked up 4 wins against very limited opponents and this type of match making isn't doing his development any favours at all.
WoW Arena, Krasnaya Polyana, Russia
Over in Russia we get more interesting action, with two more central Asian fighters.
On bout will see talented Russian prospect Albert Batyrgaziev (1-0, 1) take on unbeaten Russian based Kyrgyzstan fighter Erzhan Turgumbekov (8-0-1, 2). This is gutsy and exciting match making from Batyrgaziev's team, especially given he's fighting well above his natural weight, though the belief is that he's a special talent. It's fair to say that Batyrgaziev's record is somewhat under-whelming, but he does hold a very good win over Heorhii Lashko, and showed enough in that one bout to suggest he's one to watch. This could be the hidden gem for the if we're being honest and certainly looks like it could be a lot more interesting than many would assume.
Also on this card is the enigmatic Kazakh fighter Firuza Sharipova (10-1, 5), who takes on Tanzania's Happy Daudi (8-6-1, 4) in a contest for the IBA female Light Welterweight title. Although talented Sharipova is a frustrating fighter to follow, and seems to be more of a celebrity in Kazakhstan than a boxer now a days. This will be he first bout since April 2019, since which she has retired, had a child, and decided to return to the sport. Daudi on the other hand has never fought out of Tanzania and has never scored a win over a fighter with a win.
Whilst Sharipova should be criticised for her competition we do wonder what on earth is going on in the IBA to allow this to be for their "world" title. Disgraceful.
OB Boxing Gymansium, Busan, South Korea
In Asia we get action thanks to a South Korean card. This is a small, card and in reality there is little to get excited about.
One of the man bouts on the card will see Dae Young Lee (2-13-2) take on Min Guk Ju (5-3, 2) in a 6 rounder, which will actually serve as a rubber match between the two men. Coming in to this Lee has failed to win any of his last 9 bouts, with 7 losses and 2 draws. Interestingly Lee beat Ju back in 2017, Gu avenged that loss in 2018 and we now get this third meeting between the two men. This isn't worth getting excited about, but it is interesting to note the history between the two men.
One other 6 rounder on here will see Jun Gyu Oh (4-2, 3) take on the once beaten Moo Hyun Kim (4-1, 1), in what should be a much better and more competitive bout that then the other 6 rounder. Kim is a pretty notable fighter, having twice picked up wins over in Japan, where he has beaten Hironori Shigeta and George Tachibana, so is worth mentally noting. Oh on the other hand will be taking on his most experienced and notable foe so far.
This coming Saturday isn't a huge one for Asian boxing, but we so have plenty of hopefuls in action.
The biggest name in action is the hotly tipped Uzbek standout Israil Madrimov (4-0, 4), who takes on former world title challenger Charlie Navarro (29-9, 22). This bout, a world title eliminator with the WBA, is a good step forward for Madrimov on paper, but should be little more than another showcase when the two men actually get into the ring. As we all already know Madrimov is a very special talent and a win here should set him up for a world title fight later in the year. Navarro, despite being 40 years old, is no push over and could ask some questions of Madrimov by relying on his experience and power.
Over in Asia we'll have a show in Cambodia of all places, where we'll see several fighters of note in action.
In the main event Uzbek fighter Olimjon Nazarov (21-5, 12) will take on Filipino fighter Orlie Silvestre (15-5-2, 8) in a bout for a WBO regional title. Although Nazarov has 5 losses to his name he has won his last 8 and appears to be "coming good" as experience and time has allowed him to develop, and score wins over the likes of Ivan Soriano and Kongfah Nakornluang. Silvestre is a decent fighter, but is very much the smaller man and we suspect he'll struggle here, given he's a small Light Flyweight, and Nazarov is a big Flyweight.
In another title bout we'll see Vietnamese fighter Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (3-0, 1) battle against Thai foe Kanyarat Yoohanngoh (7-4, 4) for the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight title. The unbeaten 23 year old Nguyen is stepping up massively here, but a win would put her in the mix for a world title bout. Aged 21 Kanyarat has previously fought at world level, where she was stopped by Etsuko Tada in a world title eliminator, and has lost 2 of her last 3. We see the unbeaten Vietnamese fighter picking up the win here.
Another Uzbek Vs Philippines bout on this show will see Abdurasul Ismoilov (7-1, 4) take on veteran Adones Aguelo (33-20-2, 23). On paper this looks like another step forward for Ismoilov, who looks to continue to rebuild following a surprise 2019 loss to Hwang Kil Kim, but Aguelo, on his day, can be a banana skin. Aguelo is tough, rugged, his hard and can pick up upsets, as he did last year against Eden Sonsona and did a few years ago against Jerry Nardo. Aguelo will be the under-dog, but he has got the ability to ask real questions of Ismoilov.
Another fighter of note on this card is Vietnamese fighter Van Thao Tran (12-1 8), who looks to rebuild from a loss to Billy Dib. The talented Tran will be strongly favoured here as he takes on Filipino journeyman Aries Buenavidez (13-4, 7), who was stopped in November by Petch Sor Chitpattana. Tran may have disappointed against Dib, but we suspect he will be too big and too good for Buenavidez here.
New York, USA
The biggest show this coming weekend comes from New York and features a trio of Central Asian fighters in notable bouts.
The biggest of those bouts will see Kazakh legend Gennady Golovkin (39-1-1, 35) battle against Ukrainian foe Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10) for the vacant IBF Middleweight title. The hard hitting Golovkin is seen as being past his best, but is still favoured to pick up the win here against the technically well schooled Derevyanchenko. The title, which was vacated when Saul Alvarez's team failed to reach a deal with Derevyanchenko, will give the winner a bargaining chip for a unification bout next year, but will leave the loser in a really awful position. Our full preview of this fight can be read here Golovkin and Derevyanchenko clash for IBF crown!
The fast rising Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3), from Ukraine, will be fighting in his 4th professional bout as he takes on Alejandro Barrera (29-5,18). On paper this is another solid match up for Madrimov, but in reality it's a notable step backwards for the Uzbek who should be expected to score a very clear win. Barrera's record looks good on paper but he has lost 3 of his last 4, was stopped by Errol Spence in 2015 and only has 1 win in the last 3 years, he has also been fighting at Welterweight. The one thing Barrera does, perhaps, have going for him is that he's only been stopped once but inactivity, natural size disadvantage and poor form doesn't bode well against a fighter like Madrimov.
Kazakh Super Middleweight Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11) is also on this card, where he will be taking on 33 year old American Andrew Hernandez (20-7-2-1, 9). The experienced Hernandez has mixed in good company, but losses to the likes of Caleb Plant, Jesse Hart and Ahmed Elbiali do show his limitations. Saying that Hernandez has been a banana skin through his career for prospects and will be a really good test for Akhmedov. The 24 year old Kazakh is climbing through the rankings well and this is a brilliant bit of match making for him. We expect Akhmedov to win, but we expect to see him needing to earn the victory.
Whilst New York has a big card there is also a really interesting one in Japan, where Tokyo plays host to the next Dynamic Glove show, though sadly it won't be aired live on G+ and is instead set for a tape delay broadcast.
The main event here sees Japanese youngster Junto Nakatani (19-0, 14) take a huge step up in class as he takes on former world champion Milan Melindo (37-4, 13) in a really interesting 10 round contest. Nakatani has looked brilliant coming through the ranks, but has, for the most part, faced smaller opponents and limited opposition. Here we still see him up against a smaller foe, but an experience and skilled opponent with world class experience. Melindo will be going up in weight for this, and will feel he has the experience to deal with Nakatani. This is a really major bout on the regional scene, and we suspect that the winner here will end up fighting for a world title in 2020. A full preview of this fight can be read here Nakatani takes on former world title challenger Melindo!
On paper the chief support bout looks like a massive mismatch, with Korean visitor Kyung Min Kwon (7-5, 3) taking on 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (34-2-2, 22). On paper this should be an easy win for Akaho, who has the clear edge in power and experience however Kwon is the naturally bigger fighter and the younger man and will be in the ring looking to score an upset. Kwon enters the bout as the interim Korean champion and managed to last 8 rounds last year with Satoshi Shimizu in an OPBF Featherweight title fight. Kwon is tough and could well frustrate Akaho, though we do expect Akaho to pick up the win.
A really good looking support bout will see Filipino Robin Langres (10-3, 4) take on under-rated Japanese local Ikuro Sadatsune (9-4-3, 3) in what has the potential to be a thriller. The 23 year old Langres is making his international debut here, and comes into the bout on the back of his second win against Jomar Fajardo, but he was beaten last year by Jason Buenaobra. Sadatsune has lost twice already this year, though both of those bouts were razor thin and against against well regarded fighters Kenshin Oshima and Sho Ishida. This could be a very hotly contest and exciting back and forth battle. For those interested in learning more about Sadatsune he was recently covered in a recent "Introducing" article Introducing... Ikuro Sadatsune
Also on this card is the debuting, but very highly touted, Shigetoshi Kotari (0-0) who kicks off his professional career against Lasben Sinaba (3-2, 3), from Indonesia. As an amateur Kotari fought over 70 professional bouts and has already impressed in sparring since turning professional. He's expected to show case his skills here, but Sinaba has been stopped in both of his losses and we see him being taken out again here and it may only be a short showcase for the Japanese debutant.
Going back to the US we'll see Kazakh heavyweight Izim Izbaki (2-0, 1) take on the win-less Troy Albring (0-2). The 24 year old Izbaki is worth making a note of, as he rises through the ranks, but this is little more than a fight to help him adapt to professional boxing. Albring has been blown in the opening round of both his previous fights and we're expecting the same to happen again here.
Also in the US will be Chinese Light heavyweight Fanlong Meng (15-0, 9), who faces Gilberto Rubio (9-8, 6), in a stay busy fight whilst he awaits his shot at the IBF Light Heavyweight title.
New York, USA
The big show this coming Saturday comes from New York and will feature a pair of Kazakh fighters, one being the biggest name in Kazakh boxing, and the other being a youngster looking to become a contender.
The main man on the card is former Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34), who takes on unbeaten Canadian Steve Rolls (19-0, 10). This will be Golovkin's first bout since losing to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez late last year, and it's a huge step down in opponent from what Golovkin has been facing in recent years. Rolls, although unbeaten, has done little to suggest he can survive with Golovkin and really doesn't bring much at all to this bout. We understand Golovkin having an easy return, after almost 9 months out, but this bout really doesn't appeal to us at all.
Another Kazakh on this card is the unbeaten Ali Akhmedov (14-0, 10), a rising Super Middleweight. The 23 year old Akhmedov will be up against the limited, but entertaining, Abraham Han (26-4-1, 16). Han hasn't fought in over a year, but has proven to be a decent opponent, with good performances against fighters like Sergio Mora, Fernando Guerrero and J'Leon Love. On paper this is a big step up for Akhemedov, but one he should manage without too many problems.
A third Kazakh fighter on this show is Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-0-1-1, 12), who will go up against the touted Brian Ceballo (8-0, 4), in what looks like a really tough one for Eyubov. The Kazakh man once looked like an emerging force, winning his first 10 by stoppage, but since then his career has really faltered, and he's lucky to still be unbeaten. Ceballo on the other hand is a fast rising prospect and will be expected to win here, in a step up bout, but a seemingly safe step up bout.
Another Asian fighter on this card is the hugely impressive Uzbek contender Israil Madrimov (2-0, 2), who takes a step up on class to take on Mexican gate keeper Norberto Gonzalez (23-12, 13), in what is likely to be Madrimov's toughest bout to date. The Uzbek has hardly put a foot wrong in the pros so far, and a win over the durable Gonzalez, especially this early in his career, would be another major statement. Whilst Gonzalez is certainly not the fighter he once was he is no bum, and should be able to ask some questions of the Uzbek.
In Queensland we'll see the once beaten Korean In Duck Seo (11-1-2, 6) take on the unbeaten Tysinn Best (10-0, 3) in what looks like a really interesting match up. Coming in to this Seo has just scored his biggest win to date, out pointing Heuk San Lee, and is much better than his loss to Eldorbek Sayodiv suggests. Best on the other hand is stepping up here, and whilst he has home advantage this should be his toughest bout to date, by far.
New York, USA
This coming Saturday sees attention turn to the US as World of Boxing and Matchroom Boxing put on a card in New York. The headline bout of that card is a bout of interest to us as Kyrgyzstan born, Korean-Moldovan-Russian Dmitry Bivol (15-0, 11) defends his WBA Light Heavyweight title against heavy handed American Joe Smith Jr (24-2, 20). this will be Bivol's 4th straight US bout and will see him continuing a busy scheduled for a world champion, having defended the title 3 times last year. In Smith we have a really hard hitting challenger, but a technically limited one, who can be out boxed and we expect to see a cautious Bivol take a clear decision over the challenger, but there is a danger in Smith's power. Our preview of this bout is available here Bivol battles Smith in next title defense!
Also on this card will be highly touted Uzbek Isrial Madrimov (1-0, 1), though his opponent for the show hasn't been announced at the time of writing. He has spoke to the Uzbek press in the build up and suggest that opponents are ducking him, already.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
As well as the big bout in the US there will also be title action in Thailand. The title bout there will see British born Thai Nadir Sebbar (4-0, 4) face off with Thongchai Kunram (7-15, 3), aka Petchthongchai Singmanassak, fight for the Thai Light Welterweight title. We're expecting this to be a mismatch but it is still a bout worth noting.
In Germany Azeri fighter Namig Mammadov (3-1, 1) is pencilled in for a 6 round bout. Last time out Mammadov blew away the previously unbeaten Armin Graf in 40 seconds so will be hoping to build on that victory. In the opposite corner will be unbeaten German puncher Tamer Oezavci (8-0, 8), who has a good looking, but some what padded, record.
This Saturday is a huge one for Asian fight fans with notable bouts taking place on 3 different continents.
New Jersey, USA
The biggest card for us is North America where we see a headlining bout between two established fighters and get a supporting card featuring major Central Asian prospects.
The card is headlined by Dmitry Bivol (14-0, 11)defending his WBA Light Heavyweight title against veteran Jean Pascal (33-5-1-1, 20). The talented Bivol has been busy this year with wins against Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba and a win over Pascal would see him ending a good year with a big name on his record, albeit a faded force in Pascal. The 36 year old Pascal is well beyond his best, but was competitive with Eleider Alvarez last year and the hope will be for Bivol and Alvarez to face off in 2019. A prime Pascal would have given Bivol a real test, but he's now little more than a name. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here - Can Bivol over-come Pascal in one of the final HBO shows?
One of the prospects on this card is Uzbek sensation Murodjon Akhmadaliev (4-0, 3), who will be looking to make his first defense of the WBA Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Akhmadaliev was a former amateur stand out will be up against American foe Isaac Zarate (16-3-3, 2) , who comes into this bout on the back of a 5 fight unbeaten run including wins over Carlos Carlson and Horacio Garcia. This is a good step up for the Uzbek, who's is set to have his fight televised on HBO, and hopefully bigger and better opportunities will come his way in 2019.
One of the other major prospects on this card is the debuting Israil Madrimov (0-0), who looks to instantly announce himself as one to watch, as he takes on Vladimir Hernandez (10-2, 6) in a 10 rounder, on debut. The highly regarded Madrimov is tipped to be a major success, and it seems clear that his team have big expectations for him, putting him in such a tough bout to begin his career. Hernandez might not be a major name but he's a very solid opponent for a debut, and has only lost a couple of close decisions, to Humberto Velazco Torres and Adrian Luna Flores. Not only has Hernandez been competitive with good opponents, but he has scored decent wins over Elco Garcia and Danny Valdivia. This is a serious debut.
Another prospect on this card is 2016 Olympic silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (5-0, 4), who will be up against the very experienced Miguel Zamudio (41-11-1, 25). The unbeaten Giyasov has been very impressive this year, beating good opponents like Gabor Gorbics, Albert Mensah and Julio Laguna, defeating Laguna at Wembley on a massive international card. Zamudio is a 27 year old Mexican veteran, who debuted back in 2009 and has been ultra-active. Despite being active Zamudio has lost to the notable opponents he's faced, such as Jose Zepeda, Sharif Bogere and Will Tomlinson.
Kazakh Heavyweight Ivan Dychko (7-0, 7) was also scheduled to be on this card, though was pulled in the weeks leading up to the show, without a reason being given.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Another international card with notable action comes from Monaco, where we get a couple bouts involving Asian fighters.
A second unbeaten Chinese fighter on this card is Meng Fanlong (13-0, 8) who goes up against popular Englishman Frank Buglioni (22-3-1, 16). The bout will be Fanlong's first defense of the IBF Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight title, a title he won in October 2017 when he defeated Ammanuel Danso. The Chinese fighter has looked good at times, but has been shown to have a less than amazing chin and although Buglioni is not a world beater, he does have respectable power. If Buglioni lands clean this could be a night to forget for Fanlong, who will be making his Euroipean debut.
Another Olympic medal winner on this card will be 2016 gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov (4-0, 2) of Kazakhstan. The 2016 Olympic champion will be battling against Nicaraguan Marcos Mojica (16-2-2, 12) and this is another good platform for Yeleussinov to shine on, as he did last time out, when he stopped Matt Doherty. If Yeleussinov can continue to develop his style he could become a star, but there is still a long way for him to go. Mojica is the under-dog, but is a live under-dog here.
We were also hoping to see unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhang Zhilei (20-0, 16) take on veteran Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25), but that bout was cancelled at late notice due to Zhilei having visa issues in the weeks running up to the fight.
Despite the notable action in the US and Monaco there is actually a stacked card in the Philippines, courtesy of ALA Promotions who are putting on a show with several WBO affiliated titles.
One of those title bouts will feature the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (16-2, 14) making his first defense of the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Mexican visitor Victor Uriel Lopez (13-6-1, 6). The champion won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda and this should be a good defense against a fighter who has proven he can fight on the road. Lopez first came to our attention in 2016, when he upset Ryo Matsumoto, and despite a loss to Matsumoto in a rematch he has remained relevant, with a big win this past August against Antonio Tostado. We're expecting an interesting bout here.
Another title bout on this card will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (30-1, 21) make his first defense of the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Ghanaian puncher George Krampah (14-3, 12). On paper this looks dangerous for Pagara, but the visitor has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 bouts, and he lacks any win of note. This is a great chance for Pagara to make his first defense, and we suspect his aim will be on stopping Krampah in under 4 rounds, to try and beat the result Isaac Dogboe had against him.
In one of the major supporting bouts we'll see former world title challengers face off with Jonas Sultan (14-4, 9) taking on Ardin Diale (34-12-4, 16). Sultan failed to shine in his recent world title fight with Jerwin Ancajas, but he is a talented fighter and will be wanting to bounce back from that setback. A win over would certainly help him go into 2019 with some momentum. As for Diale his record has been patchy recently, though he has mixed with top quality fighters such as Daigo Higa, Moruti Mthlane and Andrew Selby. We suspect Sultan's youth will get him over the line here, but this could be more competitive than the records suggest.
Sultan isn't the only former world title challenger on this show as the once touted Arthur Villanueva (32-3, 18) looks to rebuild his career after his loss earlier this year to Luis Nery. Villanueva will be up against countryman Carlo Demecillo (11-5, 5) who is less than 2 years removed from a brutal KO loss to Satoshi Shimizu. He is 5-1 (4) since that loss, but this is a big step back up in class and is certainly his toughest bout since the Shimizu bout. Hard to see anything but a win for Villanueva, but he will have to work for it.
Unbeaten prospect KJ Cataraja (8-0, 7) takes a step up as he faces Victor Hugo Reyes (9-1-1, 7) for the WBO Youth Super Flyweight title. Cataraja is widely regarded as one of the top Filipino prospects but hasn't yet had the opponents to really show what he's capable of. This is a good chance to Cataraja to prove what he can do and potentially convince his team to give him better match ups in the new year. Reyes is a live fighter, but his record doesn't have much quality on it, with his most notable bout being his loss to Ricardo Rafael Sandoval back in March. Reyes will travel to win, and should give Cataraja a good teat, but one that we expect Cataraja to pass.
Japanese prospect Go Hosaka (1-0, 1), who is signed with ALA Promotions, will be having his second professional bout. The talented former amateur stand out will be up against the hard hitting but limited Jason Tinampay (8-11-1, 7). Hosaka is a real talent and ALA may well have a future world champion on their hands here, if they manage his career properly. At this stage putting him in with Tinampay seems a good choice. Tinampay was once a dangerous fighter, but has gone 1-10-1 since a 7-1 start to his career.
We see yet more prospects in Canada, where two Kazakh hopefuls will be looking to extend their unbeaten records.
One of those prospects is the very talented Sadriddin Akhmedov (4-0, 4), who goes up against the experienced Jose Francisco Zuniga (14-11-2, 5). On paper this is a slight step up in class for Akhmedov, who has stopped his first 4 opponents in a combined 8 rounds, but one he should manage without any issues. It's worth noting Zuniga has only been stopped once in his 11 losses, but we feel he will have to put in a real survival effort to hear the final bell here.
The other is prospects is 24 year old Nurzat Sabirov (7-0, 6), who a huge step up in class to battle Rocky Montoya (32-2, 22). Sabirov is tipped to be a star, like many of the Kazakh's currently based in Canada , and has looked very promising since his debut in June 2017. This is however a step up and Montoya has only been stopped once, by the under-rated David Lopez. Whilst Montoya is a test on paper it's hard to know how good he is given that, for the most part, his competition has been dreadful. We suspect Montoya's record will be exposed here by the talented Kazakh.
In less notable action we'll see Filipino Adam Diu Abdulhamid (13-6, 5) look to build on a recent big win in China, over Youli Dong. The under-rated Filipino will be facing off with Australian Joel Camilleri (15-5-1, 7) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight title, which is currently vacant. Although relatively unknown Abdulhamid is a very good fighter and seems happy fighting on the road, despite bein 1-3 outside of the Philippines. Camilleri has won just 1 of his last 3 fights, and really lacks a good wins, but was competitive with Dwight Richie last time out, and is better than his record suggests. This looks like it could be a very interesting match up.